Writers know it instinctively: Verbs make a sentence zing. Grammar gurus agree: Drama in writing emerges from the interplay of a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb). Constance Hale, the best-selling author of Sin and Syntax zooms in on the colorful world of verbs. Synthesizing the pedagogical and the popular, the scholarly and the scandalous, Hale combines the wit of Bill Bryson with the practical wisdom of William Zinsser. She marches through linguistic history to paint a layered picture of our language—from before it really existed to the quirky usages we see online today. She warns about habits to avoid and inspires with samples of brilliant writing. A veteran teacher, Hale gives writing prompts along the way, helping readers “try, do, write, play.” Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch guides us to more powerful writing by demonstrating how to use great verbs with style.
I truly enjoyed reading this book. A lot of books on writing that I do read at this point often re-hash the same information as other books: new information is rare. This book focuses not necessarily on writing, but on words. We learn the history of English, how some words are stronger than others, proper grammar usage. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll have noticed I quoted this book several times. What you may not know is that I have a long list, from this book alone, of books I should do my best to eliminate from my story and everything discussed is well explained.
I found this book invaluable and I will probably purchase it for my own shelves. I borrowed it from the library. I also plan on checking into Constance Hale’s Sin and Syntax.